Profound Moments

The more I learned during my online reiki course, the more life started to make sense to me. There are no accidents in life, only synchronicities. I know this is a painful thing to think about especially if we’ve experienced something gutwrenchingly awful to our heart, mind and body.

I am of the opinion where time is not linear. Science has many debates going on about this, but here’s a quote I found which I truly love. Julian Balfour was quoted in Popular Science on September 18, 2012 stating the following: “The only evidence you have of last week is your memory. But memory comes from a stable structure of neurons in your brain now. The only evidence we have of the Earth’s past is rocks and fossils. But these are just stable structures in the form of an arrangement of minerals we examine in the present. The point is, all we have are these records and you only have them in this Now.” Keeping this in mind, your past, present and future are all happening right now. We can debate this until the cows come home, but this is what I believe.

During my online reiki lessons, I was taught how to do distance work using symbols and meditation practices. The teacher taught us not only could we send energy to someone else without touching them or being near them, we could also go back into our past and send love and healing to our past selves. BOOM! Mind completely blown. Anyone who takes a reiki course knows we are ALL taught this (again, this is why I don’t understand why online learning for reiki isn’t well revered. Kind of snobbish if you ask me, which you didn’t. However it’s my blog and I’ll bitch if I want to.) I had already believed in time not being linear, but I was astounded at this revelation.

With my being the ever skeptic person, I figured I’d just give it a go and test it out. One night while I was lying in bed I couldn’t sleep. It was the perfect time to try this distance stuff out and at the least, maybe the meditation would put me to sleep. I went into meditation while lying horizontally on my bed. I sent myself to a place where I was happy. I visualized sending myself back into my past taking hops based on the happiest moments so I was in good place emotionally. I went backwards to the adoption of the youngest child, my marriage to this husband, the birth of my youngest biological child, birth of middle child and birth of oldest child. When I got to this point I realized just how damn young I was having a baby. I sent love to myself at all of these ages and finally I sent myself to the earliest memory I have of being molested.

It was very hard for me to stay in this meditation seeing how sad and broken I was as an 8 year old little girl. There was no happiness in my eyes and I could feel the loneliness all over again. As I stood next to her I asked her to look at me and she was very hesitant. I was taught to be seen and not heard. I spoke very softly and carefully to her letting her know I was the grown-up version of her. She didn’t want to believe me, but I assured her it was true. I had a very long talk with her and let her know that no matter what happens to her, she was loved and as an adult she’d be happy. I promised her we had a life now, we were married with beautiful children. I asked her if I was allowed to hug her and she agreed. I felt her body relax and then I felt relaxed. I thanked her for allowing me to hug her which is significant because abuse victims don’t always like being touched.

While hugging her, I sent her love and healing energy using my symbols. When I was done talking to her, I brought myself out of the meditation and proceeded to ugly cry.  You know the ugly cry, chest heaving, can’t talk, eyes swollen kind of cry. I had to get out of bed and go to the bathroom so I didn’t wake up my husband.  When the snuffling finally stopped and I could calm down I realized I was different. I felt different as if  someone gave a damn. It was in this moment I realized I had truly learned to love myself, literally. I loved the little girl who had been emotionally and physically abused. I loved the good and the bad about myself. This was probably one of the most profound moments of my life. I felt the love I had given myself at that age come forward into now.

All I have are Nows. All any of us have are the Nows. Tomorrow is not promised and you don’t want to live with regret. Love yourself  T O D A Y. Don’t wait for someone else to love you first because it’ll never happen. You have to love yourself in order to allow others to love you wholly.

I am grateful to the Divine Feminine for allowing me to find this path. The amount of emotional healing I’ve done since moment is huge. I am not the same person and I am proud of myself.

Blessed Be and Peace be with you

Shelley

Universal What? Get the F Outta Here.

Someone I know had this brilliant idea that it was time for me start learning more about the metaphysical side of things. You know because learning about essential oils and admitting there’s they work wasn’t enough to rock my boat. I guess this person figured my little canoe was already rocking to side to side, might as well just flip that bitch over and get soaked. None of this toe tapping the water to see if it feels right, oh no… PLOP. Into the water you go girl. Sink or swim.

I start hunting and pecking around to look up what Reiki means. If you go to reiki.org and look up the meaning this is what you’ll find “Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.” Pardon me, but W T F is life force energy? Are we talking about all of that hippy crap I’ve read about? Scoffed at? Laughed at my entire life? Why yes, yes we are.

A dictionary meaning was a little more along the lines of something I could potentially understand. I am a very logical person. 1 + 1 must ALWAYS equal 2. Period. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.  Here is what dictionary.com states “a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.” It was still a bit more than I could handle, but hey, I’m trying to be open. I’m trying not to be closed-minded and open myself up to the possibility there must be something to all of this.

I decide that I’m going to be cheap about this. My poor husband has always just sat back and watched me dive into a million projects whole hog and supports me to the best of his ability. Sometimes he shakes his head at me and just watches me flail about. I didn’t want this to be just another “thing” I spent thousands of dollars on later abandon it all and apologize for spending so much money. He truly is a saint and I have no idea how he’s kept me all of these years. I think he loves our kids and just put up with me to keep them 🙂 Anyway, short story later, I find udemy.com and discover a program that’s super inexpensive and I do the Lisa Powers Reiki I, II and Master certification.

<standing on soapbox> If anyone has done in person classes and scoffs at the idea of the online stuff, I’m going to tell you right now to shut it. I won’t deny you likely had an amazing experience in person, but that doesn’t take away from what I experienced. No comparisons… you don’t get to steal my joy.<getting off soapbox>

I start taking the online class. I print everything out ahead of time, I three-hole punch it, I put it in a binder. I get my headphones so I can listen to this in my office at work during lunch and I get completely prepared. I am so 1-2-3 prepared it’s not even funny. I start the course and she’s talking about what Reiki is, the history and how it works. She’s talking about how energy emanates from the practitioners hands. All I can think of is how damn cold my hands are all of the time. Then during the course of learning, she teaches you how to feel the energy. Put your hands together, rub them back and forth as if you were warming them up because you’re cold. Now pull your hands about 1/2″ to an 1″ apart. What do you feel? For me, my hands were tingling and they got really warm. Clearly they only got warm because I rubbed them together right. I mean this energy thing is just some hokum someone came up with make money. Right?!?

Nope. This shit works people. The more I learned to work with Reiki the more I felt a huge difference. I can be as cold as anything, but the moment I start working with Reiki whether it’s on a client or on myself, I start getting warm and not just my hands. I have to keep my healing room fairly cool because I get so hot I wind up sweating so I have a warming pad on the massage table so my clients stay warm. I had never, ever felt anything like it. I tingle, noticeably.

The instructor teaches you how to meditate. Now, wait a minute. First you’re expecting me to believe in this energy crap and now you want me to meditate? Dude… there’s no taking it slow any longer. Suck it up buttercup.

How much can one person take? Apparently my spirit guides have a massive sense of humor.

To be continued…

Blessed Be and Peace be with you,
Shelley

It Takes a Village People… like it or not.

There is a saying that goes “It takes a village to raise a child.” There is a reason this saying exists. When life was much more simple and humans were more interested in other people rather than a damn phone, tablet or a TV, people looked out for each other. When a woman bore a child, the village women would help her. They would cook for her, help clean her home and help teach her how to raise that child. The entire village was invested in the well-being of the young which had been brought into the world. As the babe grew, neighbors would continue to help. Families helped to raise each others children. Families were large and often required more than just two people to handle it all.

Children were put to work fairly early even with school duties because farms needed tending to, logs needed split, animals needed fed. There wasn’t an enormous amount of free time for a child to sit around and dawdle. Now I’m not saying no one got in trouble, I’m just saying it gave them less time to get into trouble. Men worked outside the home and the females took care of the home. This came with its own set of issues because women weren’t always valued for the true blessings they were to a family. However, if a female was mistreated, often times other men of the village would step in and handle business. Just be patient with me, I’m getting to the point.

As a society, humans eventually started to not like other people butting into their business so they moved to other cities where no one would know who they were. Technology came along like electricity, phones and other modern conveniences. Women learned they could have less children. It became easier to move away from your support group.

If the village has dissipated, who helps the single mom of 3 children care for those children, work a full-time job outside the home, feed those children and make sure they have clothes and all of their necessities? You are now left with a stressed out mother who just wants a moments peace. Rather than her finding that moments peace, it exasperates her situation and she becomes more mentally agitated than she needs to be. Who suffers? EVERYONE SUFFERS. The mom suffers, the children suffer… it’s a no win situation, unless you can afford a Nanny and trust me, that ain’t the norm.

When does society finally decide to actually start caring about other people and helping out those families who are in distress? No one is saying you need to hand over thousands of dollars to someone, but if you see a person struggling, give them a hand. If you see a stressed out child, ask the parent is there anything you can do to lend a hand. BE THE CHANGE WE NEED TO SEE IN THE WORLD. Don’t be a fucking ostrich and bury your head and pretend it’ll all go away.

Hunger is here in the United States. We keep sending money to other countries. FEED US. FEED YOUR LOCAL CHILDREN. Do you not think the parents of hungry children are stressed out? It leads to physical abuse, mental abuse and so much more. If my mom’s parents hadn’t owned a farm, I truly don’t know how I would have eaten as a child. The majority of our food came from that farm and we worked for it. Snapped beans, shucked corn, dug potatoes. I swear that root cellar with the potatoes used to make me puke it stunk so bad. However, I am grateful it existed because it fed me.

I keep money in my car so when I see someone on the street with a sign asking for money, I have money to give. I used to be so judgmental and think “Oh you just want it for drugs.” As a recovering addict, I fight with my inner self on this. What did I decide? I decided, who the hell am I? Who am I to judge someone else? I am no one. Maybe that $5 I hand over is going to go for drugs, but maybe, just maybe they’re hungry and that $5 just bought them some warm food. Give it FREELY with NO EXPECTATIONS.

America expects. I call bullshit. Learn to love openly and unconditionally. If you are donating, it’s called a donation for reason. You gave it willingly. Your end of the deal is now complete. Walk away proud of yourself and pray that the receiver will do the right thing. You don’t get to decide what their karma should be. Mind your own karma.

I have debated many times if I want to continue to write this blog. I haven’t written anything in about 6 weeks. Sorting through how I feel about my childhood and my early adult life has been difficult for me. I have biological family members who have accused me of being selfish, pointing the finger at everyone but me, being egotistical and the list goes on. I let it deter me for a while because I felt I needed to examine my motive for writing this blog. Was it really to just point fingers at someone else and say “Look at what you did!” Or, did I start writing this blog because I was tired of putting my dirty laundry under the carpet which had become so lumpy, I couldn’t walk on the carpet anymore?

It’s none of those things. I started writing it because I give a shit about other people. I want other women and men to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That’s my message, that’s my reason. If my reasoning pisses you off and you want to yell at me, have at it. Perhaps you need to examine your own damn life and figure out why you’re getting so pissed off about what I wrote. Perhaps you have your own behavior to look at.

And so, here I am writing again. And it feels damn good.

The Truly Bad 4-Letter F-word

FEAR! This word to me is far worse than saying, reading or hearing the word fuck. I mean, seriously. Fear can stop you in your tracks. It can alter the course of your path for a minute, a day or a lifetime. Fear can stop you from taking chances which could propel you forward in life. Fear of the unknown can you keep in a stalemate. Fear of a spider? Can make you stop your car in traffic and jump out yelling like a crazy person. (Yes, I do know people who have done this.) Fear of the dark? You refuse to go into a dark basement until every light is on and even then you wonder what’s lurking in the shadows. Why do we do these things ourselves? Humans have a need to feel safe.

When we walk in safety, we are comfortable with life. We may not be happy, but we are comfortable because it’s what we know. We have a routine which we become accustomed to and we know what to expect. The flip side to this is, we also stunt ourselves emotionally within the confines of safety by not allowing ourselves to grow.

I thought I had a fear of writing about my life and the experiences I’ve had. I’ve met so many other women who’ve had similar experiences and when we share stories, I’ve shared with them I’ve always wanted to write about it so others like us would know they were not alone. They’ve all said to me “You should write about it. I’m too afraid to do it.” It’s always easier to be on the sidelines than on the field in your gear ready to take a hit. And to be honest, it wasn’t really the fear of writing we were worried about at all, but the fear of how our biological families would react to WHAT we were going write about. Yes most of the family members already knew the stories, but confronting them with it in black and white is a different story. How well was that going to go over? Not very well. I knew that going in. I am tired of standing on the sidelines. I’m geared up and ready.

I’m making a different choice now to confront my fear and with that choice comes a consequence. I am losing relationships with biological family members. I have exposed the things which we do not speak of. Did I expect this? Yes.  Is it a surprise? Nope, not in the least. Here’s the biggest question: Have these people loved and supported me no matter what my decisions have been my entire life? The biggest answer: No, they loved me as long as I did what they wanted me to do.

This is a huge epiphany for me. So huge it didn’t even occur to me until I was writing this and figured it out. I’ve said and done things my entire life that I didn’t agree with to make others happy so I would feel loved. This is an admission of guilt. I’ve said horrible things about people I truly loved because it made a biological family member happy. That was MY choice. No one forced me to do this. I allowed others opinions to become my own. I was the weak one. I now choose to stand in my truth and it takes strength, but it can also be physically very lonely. However, as I walk down this road I know I am not emotionally alone. I have spirit guides, guardian angels and family I’ve chosen who do love me for exactly who I am. I am no longer responsible for carrying someone else’s shitty pickles. I am standing with my head held high knowing that I made a different choice. I chose peace and happiness. I chose to claim in my responsibility and forgive myself so I can move forward and grow.

Here is my truth. I have been married four times to four different men. I have 4 children with 3 different men. One of those 3 men I wasn’t even married to. How’s that for airing some dirty laundry? I was very embarrassed about this for years. I’m not any longer. I have remorse for the trail of pain I left behind.

First marriage: 4 months beginning to end. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten married. I apologize to you husband #1. I knew it wasn’t right when we got married and I did it anyway. I accept my responsibility for not putting any effort whatsoever into the relationship and for being willing to walk away so easily.

Father of child #1 – I am sorry I lead you on after she was first born and allowed you to believe there would be a relationship because there was a child involved. I really and truly wanted her to be raised with biological father because I hadn’t been raised with mine. I know I hurt you and I apologize.

Second marriage: 8 months living together, 2+ years total on paper in marriage. There will never be enough words in the English language to tell you how deeply sorry I am for hurting you. I loved you the only way I knew how at the age of 20 & 21. It was far less than you deserved.

Third marriage and father of child #2 and #3 – I am sorry for the part my behavior played in our divorce. I could have been a much better wife and that wasn’t fair to you. I gave all of my love and attention to our children instead. I could have made more time to nurture our relationship.

Fourth marriage and father of child #4 – You’re my favorite asshat in the world. I’ve apologized to you for many things over the years. Marrying you, I will never be sorry for that. We have worked extremely hard at keeping our marriage together including living in two different states for 3 years and stage 4 throat cancer. I will be damned if I’m going to allow my human ego or my pride to wreck this one. I love you with a depth in which mere words could never express it appropriately.

To anyone reading this post if you made it this far:

When you feel alone in this world, please know you are not. With each blog post I write, I lose another friend or family member, but I also gain 2 friends who choose to become family. Family is everything to me. I will hold on tight and love you all til my dying breath.

Peace be with you as it is with me.

Trauma Is Not Just Physical Pain

The definition of trauma is (1) a deeply distressing or disturbing experience or (2) physical injury. When I’ve talked to people about trauma I’ve experienced in my lifetime, they automatically assume it was all physical traumas. There was physical trauma, but what about the emotional trauma? Just because someone didn’t hit me physically doesn’t mean I didn’t experience a pain so deep in my soul it changed who I was forever.

The majority of my specific trauma all happened by the age of 15. After that, I was pretty much a self-serving bitch because I’d had enough of people thinking I was a pushover. I was no longer willing to allow my throat chakra to stay closed and swallow down anymore bullshit for anyone. I said what I wanted, how I wanted and outwardly I didn’t really care what anyone thought of me. When I was alone and quiet I would think about the pain I may have caused someone. It was in those moments I decided I was more like my favorite book/movie character, Katie Scarlett O’Hara, more affectionately known as Scarlett. I always thought to myself “After all, tomorrow is another day.” The translation to this is… I’m not going to think about that right now, which Scarlett said regularly. To her, the end goal was all that mattered and whomever she had to stomp on in the meantime was just going to have to deal.

As human beings walking around with a lot of baggage in our hearts, we often say and do things out of anger or when we are under the influence we would not normally say. In a normal, unaltered state we avoid saying and doing these same things. You know those moments when you’re out and you’ve had a drink and wind up telling the hot guy/girl you’ve been eyeing up all night that you’re attracted to them. There’s a reason alcohol is called liquid courage. It lowers our inhibitions and our guarded protection over our hearts. Feelings we have in an unaltered state we would never allow out start to flow freely. Sometimes we remember stating these feelings and sometimes we do not. Anger can cause much the same reaction. It’s like a switch was flipped and the electrical current is no longer being controlled and stuff just starts flying with no grounding to trigger it to stop. Then comes the electrical shock.

I remember this moment as if it was yesterday; I don’t think I was any more than 6 years old. My parents were getting a divorce and my world was upside down so I wasn’t sleeping well. My father had always rocked me to sleep and with that gone, my routine changed (insert a huge aha moment literally just now as I write this for why I had routine based OCD). My mother had been out for the night and I could tell by the smell alcohol was involved. I have a very sensitive nose, always have and I can pick up that smell very quickly. I remember being scared because I woke up in the middle of the night and went to crawl in bed with her, but she wasn’t there so I went back to my bed. When she did finally come home, I tossed back the covers and my little bare feet hit ground again. I walked towards her room holding my Mrs. Beasley doll (which I still have) and there stood my mom facing away from me. I asked her where she had been because I was scared. She turned around and looked at me and she said a few things but the only one I remember hearing was this “If you had never been born, your father and I would still be married.”

As a 48 year old woman who has been through a divorce, I understand why my mother felt that way. She was hurt, going through a lot and there was alcohol involved. I did ask her about this statement once when I was in my 30’s, but she has absolutely no recollection of ever saying it. I believe that. My own children tell me things I’ve said and I do not remember saying them. It doesn’t mean their feelings about it aren’t valid. That one sentence from my mother, something she doesn’t even remember, had affected me for most of my life. I truly believed I was responsible for their marriage falling apart. I was immediately and deeply saddened. I lost a piece of my soul that night.

As an adult, I can tell you having someone blame me for anything was a huge trigger for my anger to come out, especially when I knew it wasn’t my responsibility. PHEW! Boy howdy would I react violently. I’d throw cordless phones (went through 4 in one year) and I would reach into the depths of my mind to find the weakness of my accuser and I would use it against the person. If they were going to hurt me, I’d show them a thing or two. I was reacting to what was in my view, a huge injustice. In the end, I feel like what I did was worse because it was intentional. I had some serious self-forgiveness to do. I still don’t like being blamed for something which I know isn’t my fault, but I don’t get angry anymore. I’m not going to keep trying to convince someone of something I know I didn’t do. Either you believe me or you don’t. It’s that simple for me.

I step through the triggers instead of allowing them to consume me.

Peace be with you.

Shelley

Moments Which Begin to Define Us

As the child of a single mother in the 70’s, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom playing alone. During the summer months my mother couldn’t afford to pay a baby sitter, much less send us off to summer camp. My brothers were 5 and 7 years older than me so they didn’t really need a babysitter, they were the built-in babysitters. In retrospect, I am able to see that due to circumstances beyond our control they were in the position of having to care for their little sister. Teenage boys would much prefer to hang out and have fun with their friends. My brothers Constantine and Rinaldo were not any different.

Their friends who would spend a lot of time at our house while Mother was at work. Since I was the youngest and the only girl around, I was the designated sandwich maker and drink go-getter. Demanding boys! I remember how much time my brother’s had to spend with me because our Mom was working. I can’t imagine how much it bothered them to always have their little sister with them. I felt like a burden and I certainly didn’t always like getting dragged around to go visit girlfriends when we were not supposed to be leaving the house. However, Rinaldo’s theory on life was that if I did the same thing they did then I couldn’t tell Mother because I’d get in the same amount of trouble as them. I have to hand it to Rinaldo, the boy was a genius (and still is, literally. Super high IQ). I completely believed him and just went along with it.

Most of my brother’s friends were nicer to me than my brothers, but then again I wasn’t their little sister who tattled on them all of the time either. There was one boy who about a year older than Rinaldo who just scared me. Being around him was uncomfortable and I didn’t like to be left alone in a room with him. I remember him with a dark aura around him and he almost always had on a khaki military jacket. One time during the summer he was in the living room and had asked me to make him a sandwich. My brothers were not around and it was just the two of us in the living room. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. After I was done making it, I brought him the sandwich and he ran one of his hands up the back of my left leg on the bare skin. I instantly became very aware that I was a little girl and he was a male much bigger than me. I already knew what that kind of touch meant and no way did I want that happening at my own home. No 2nd grader should have to feel that uncomfortable around her brother’s friends. I ran away from him and made sure I was never in the same room with him again. Nothing else happened with him. He just stopped coming over after a while and I was very grateful. (As an aside, before I wrote this post I googled his name and discovered he’s been arrested several times for crimes against women such as battery and stalking. I was very fortunate.)

I used to have some serious issues with claustrophobia. The kind where if you got up in my face, my fight or flight instinct would take over and I’d start swinging regardless of how much I liked you. Why did I have claustrophobia you ask? Well, let me tell you! Mother was very clear “no one in, no one out.” It was a standing rule when she wasn’t home, a rule which was frequently broken by Rinaldo and Constantine. This one specific day during the summer, my brothers and their friends wanted to get high and didn’t want the pest (aka me) around to witness it. I got locked in my bedroom closet and was told I wasn’t allowed to come out until they came to get me. PS, hours later I was still in the closet. Mother came home and I heard her ask “Where is Maria?” My brother Constantine came running to my room and opened my closet door. He told me I better not say a word and pretend like everything was normal or else. So like a good little girl, I obeyed and shut up.

It’s taken me 40 years to get over being claustrophobic. It’s taken me 40 years to deal with all of the moments where I had to “be a good little girl.” Think about what you say to the younger generation. You are forming the adults they will become. I used those moments as lessons to teach me to what I didn’t want to become as an adult, but not everyone makes that decision. Many times bad behavior is repeated.

The next time you see someone with OCD or with a phobia, before you criticize them verbally or even in your own head, think twice. Ask yourself, what happened to them during their lifetime to cause the issue. It’s much better to see the issue through their eyes rather than your own.

Who are you to judge?

I am just me.

Shelley

Ask for Help – It’s not as easy as it sounds

This seems to be the new theme I’m being lead toward. You know when you’ve spent most of your life doing things yourself, asking for help is really very hard. My guides are basically smacking me upside the head with “GIRL, you better get a move on and ask for help.”

If I think back to the earlier stages of my life to when I was a little girl of about 7 years old, I can identify where this independent streak started. I have some very clear, scattered memories from earlier on my in life, however, the memories from age 7 going forward have the most impact.

I distinctly remember being in 2nd grade getting myself ready for school. Alone. My mother and father were divorced leaving my mother single with 3 children to raise alone: Rinaldo age 14, Constantine age 12 and me age 7. My father lived on the other side of town and worked either 2nd or 3rd shift so we never saw him for visitation. Mother had to work to support us, put a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Yes, she got child support, but it didn’t cover everything and her salary was not as much as she would have liked. If memory serves me correctly, she was a secretary for the maintenance department in a local hospital. In 1976 the minimum wage was just that… minimum.

Rinaldo was in 9th grade and Constantine was in 7th grade when I was in the 2nd grade. It was Constantine’s first year in the junior high and Rinaldo’s first year at the high school. They had different start times than I did for school. Constantine used to walk me to and from school every day making sure I was safe when we were in the same school. He wouldn’t hold my hand because that wasn’t cool, but he walked next to me or put me on the handlebars of his bike and let me ride so I didn’t have to walk. Constantine was truly my protector in my early years.

I remember being scared to be alone in the morning and my mom would tell me “You’re a big girl, Maria. You can do this and you don’t need help.” I would get up, make myself breakfast (two bowls of cereal because no one was there to tell me no), pack my lunch (an extra Twinkie if I found it. Who would know?), get dressed and walk to school. My mom could have made my lunch and left it out for me, but I honestly don’t remember that part. I remember being happy I could eat what I wanted without hearing about how fat I was (that’s a whole different post).

My mom did what she had to do, I understand this. I also know the words she spoke to me repeatedly “You’re a big girl, Maria. You can do this and you don’t need help.” These have played like a stuck record in my head for years (A record is this little black thing we used to listen to on a record player and if the needle got stuck the song would skip. It’s kind of like a song on repeat on your MP3 player). She also told me women have a hard time making it in the workplace and if I wanted to make something of myself, I’d have to prove I could do it without the help of a man. “Men only respect a woman who isn’t helpless.” Again, I understand she meant well and that last piece of advice has served me well in the business industry. I am not angry with her for teaching me these things. It just left me believing I could not ask for help. For anything.

This advice hasn’t worked out so well in my personal life. I’ve been married 4 times. I am not ashamed of this, although I am tremendously sorry for the pain I caused my previous husbands. (BTW, If any of you are reading this, I truly am sorry. You had no idea what you were getting into, but if you keep reading, you’ll understand it now. And there are a few select ex-boyfriends I send that apology out to as well. Contacting you directly would likely drudge up too much shit, but hey if you’re reading, I’m taking the opportunity.) Why have I been married 4 times you ask? GREAT QUESTION. Here’s the answer, I was emotionally hosed and had an attitude of “I don’t need you, I can do this without you.” How does one learn to form a good foundation of a relationship with a spouse if you don’t allow them to help? If you yourself have no idea how to communicate or how to actually love your partner in a healthy way, how do you form healthy attachments? You don’t.

Today, at the age of 48 I am finally learning to ask for help. My husband Tyler has been my rock through this entire learning process. He does more for me than I feel I deserve sometimes. However, when  I start to feel that way, I will ask him. “Why do you do so much for me now?” His answer is plain and simple. “You allow me to.” No hesitation in the answer.  The implied explanation is “If you had allowed me to do this for you years ago, I would have. However you were stubborn and insisted on doing it yourself.” He loves being able to help me and truly gets pleasure from helping others. By my not allowing him to help me which is the very basis of his nature, I stopped him from being himself and it affected him tremendously. I didn’t even realize it.

If you’re anything like me, please start to ask for help. The universe loves us enough to put the right people in our path when we need it. Reach out. Ask. If I can do it, so can you.

(I am searching for a catchy phrase as a parting before my name…I will find one eventually, but until then…)

Shelley